After months of waiting, the Philippine Swimming, Inc. was grateful to have finally hosted the Swimming National Selection meet last October 22-24, 2021. In fact, it was a strong statement to have done so if you ask its president, Lailani Velasco.
“To be honest, there were plenty of hurdles that we needed to overcome,” said the sports executive. “I have to admit that at some point, we doubted it would even happen. But we’ve worked hard for this since early this year and we did not want to let our community down.
“This was really for our members and for the entire country. We wanted to show the country that we can recover from this pandemic through sports… through swimming,” she continued.
The meet was a collaborative effort from several agencies, and Velasco hopes and knows that this was just the beginning of many things.
“We are definitely relieved that we were able to pull this off and we are, in fact, excited to organize more events in the future,” she expressed. “Of course, we have to thank the IATF, PSC, BCDA, and CDC for working with us from the beginning in making this event happen.”
The long-time swimming body leader was not expecting too much from the swimmers in terms of performance in the selection meet as it was the first meet in over two years for all the swimmers who entered the competition.
Velasco admitted, “We have to manage our expectations given that our swimmers had to abide by all the quarantine restrictions being enacted throughout the country. We tried our best to give them enough time to prepare for the event but the reality is that the situation is always going to be volatile.
“Despite that, we were able to see remarkable performances by a few of our up-and-coming grassroots swimmers. In fact, we are delighted that a national record was even established during the event. We hope all our swimmers continue to persevere. We also hope that those who were not able to participate are motivated to join us in the next event,” she continued.
The following year will be a busy one for the country as we gear up for several international competitions like the Southeast Asian Games and the Asian Games. Swimming, on the other hand, particularly has its own World Championships for 2022.
Velasco knew of the fact and said that the national swimming body is looking forward to staging more meets, of course with the health of everyone involved on top of mind.
“We are definitely eyeing on a few more events, not just for our elite swimmers, but also for our age groupers. Eventually, we hope to get back to our usual calendar of activities. Maybe that will happen in 2022 or 2023,” Velasco hopes.
“But we will definitely always have the health and safety of our members as a priority.”